I had just gotten in to Vancouver Canada and was waiting to board the next plane toward Shanghai Pu Dong. What a cool experience. During that layover I came to a realization. Now that I am officially an international traveler why not share my experience and advice with the world? Are you ready world? Here goes nothing. 10 things to know about traveling abroad:
1. Print Out Your Itinerary.
We'll start out with an easy one. This one is pretty self explanatory but be sure to have your travel itinerary printed out and available. This way you can check and double check your travel information so you can get where you need to go on time.
2. Be Early.
When it comes to traveling, timeliness will save you from unnecessary stress headaches. Its not always easy to be on time but with your itinerary print out you should have less of a problem. Timeliness is also great because you'll often get boarding or seating priority for being early.
3. Keep Your Passport Out.
Have it out at all times! Or at least keep it easily accessible. If you get stopped by customs officers(which you will) they may ask to see your passport(often) and bombard you with questions(at length) so be ready.
4. Make The Most of Your Layovers.
Whenever you have a layover, make the most of it. Walk around as much as you need, use the toilets, pick up some reading material and food just be prepared to pay the outrageous airport or train station prices.
5. Be Ready to Be Pushed.
Keep in mind while traveling anywhere, everyone is trying to get where they're going ASAP. That being said, many people tend to lose patience quickly an sometimes resort to bumping and pushing the lines forward. At least be ready to have your heels stepped on especially if you wind up in the Shanghai airport.
6. Expect Jet Lag.
Even if you don't think you will or can get jet lag, read on. Drink water, take vitamins, whatever you need to do to avoid getting sick. Jet Lag can be a pain to get over so take preventative measures.
7. Aisle Seats Baby!
Aisle seats can be your best friend especially if your trip consists of being on a plane for several hours. After sitting on an airplane for 23 hours I can safely say aisle seats are life savers. Aisle seats are great because you can stretch your legs into the aisle, you can also easily stand up and walk the aisles to un-cramp. Another bonus is being able to reach up into the overhead compartments if you need to access your carry on at any point.
8. Get Travelers Insurance.
It can definitely worth your while to get travelers insurance. If you end up paying a lot for your ticket, which traveling internationally you probably will, insurance is a smart investment. From personal experience I can tell you if you ever miss a plane or have to push your trip back a few days due to unexpected obstacles, insurance can be invaluable. it insures your trip in case of emergency and is a good idea to have.
9. Know Your Destinations Laws and Conditions.
When you go into a foreign country, you become subject to its laws and regulations. Be sure to look up and understand the laws in the countries you visit. No one wants to end up in a foreign jail for making the wrong hand gestures.
10. Have an Emergency Contact.
In case of emergency you should definitely have someone you can contact. Should you get sick or run out of money, or find yourself in any other kind of predicament you need someone to bail you out. For all you emergency contacts out there you have a big responsibility so make sure your dependents make it worth your while.
So there it is. 10 things you should not leave home without. Traveling, especially internationally can be a lot of fun and can have lasting affect on how you see the world. Just remember fate favors the well prepared so be ready and have fun!